KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Police arrested PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad late this evening for joining a rally yesterday in support of jailed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that saw two activists detained.
PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil said in a brief statement at about 10.10pm that Nik Nazmi was arrested at his home in Denai Alam, adding later that the Selangor state executive councillor was taken to the Jinjang police station.
“Hope that God will protect our safety,” Nik Nazmi wrote on his Facebook page following his arrest.
Nik Nazmi’s lawyer, Melissa Sasidaran, said he was arrested under Section 143 of the Penal Code that criminalises participation in an unlawful assembly, the same law used to detain activists Adam Adli Abdul Halim and Fariz Musa overnight.
“He just arrived so I’m speaking to Nik now,” Melissa told Malay Mail Online.
She added that she was unsure if Nik Nazmi, who is also Seri Setia assemblyman, would be detained overnight as the investigating officer was still preparing the paperwork.
Nik Nazmi said yesterday that the police had attempted to arrest him at the rally in the city centre, but he was pulled away by the crowd during the commotion.
Adam Adli and Fariz were released this morning after they were held overnight at the Jinjang district police headquarters.
Adam Adli’s lawyer, New Sin Yew, told Malay Mail Online today that their detention was a gross abuse of police power, pointing out that Sections 142 and 143 of the Penal Code that prohibit joining an unlawful assembly — which were used to arrest the activists — require perpetrators to have used or threatened to use criminal force.
Nik Nazmi’s arrest is the latest case in what appears to be a crackdown against critics of the recent Federal Court verdict that upheld Anwar’s sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence handed down by the Court of Appeal.
A Malaysian Socialist Party leader and two other activists were recently arrested under the Sedition Act 1948 for postings on social media about the Federal Court decision.
The Federal Court upheld on February 10 the Court of Appeal’s 2014 ruling that had reversed Anwar’s acquittal of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Anwar has maintained that the charge was politically driven to end his career, a claim that Putrajaya has repeatedly denied.